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Old 04-19-2014, 07:45 PM   #61
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I want to stay active a socialize with my age peers. Get invitations to lunch, etc. Putting myself on an ER pedestal seems counter to that.
I made sure to make and keep friends that were "my age peers" while I was working. I'll get together with the handful of friends that are also former coworkers maybe once a month, and sometimes weekly. We have more in common than sharing the same profession, so we kept in touch.

I also reconnected with some old friends from high school and college. Some relationships didn't work out. Others blossomed nicely. Those that are most likely to "get" early retirement also tend to be long term friends (similar philosophies and all that).
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:56 PM   #62
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One thing I have noticed is that new people I meet during weekday hours assume I was a SAHM all along and never seriously w*rked. Sometimes I correct them, often I just stay quiet. Obviously, that doesn't happen to men. Hmmm...what's wrong with this picture?
I'm a guy, and at 33, I think I get plenty of people assuming I'm a stay at home dad. When I met our new neighbors across the street (who also have a 2 year old), they assumed I was a SAHD since I was out walking around with my 2 year old at 10 in the morning.

I didn't really correct them (I do stay at home, and I am a dad, after all!), and grumbled something about "computer... sometimes... work".

Turns out one of the new neighbors is also a stay at home dad. So I didn't need a cover story after all to "fit in".
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Why Lie About Early Retirement?
Old 04-19-2014, 08:14 PM   #63
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Why Lie About Early Retirement?

When I retired I grew a beard which came in white. Wearing a ball cap, I look older, and servers often give me a senior discount I don't deserve. I do mention it to them. So no one really questions my retired status. My brother, 17 years older, worked until he was almost 70. He liked his job, but really couldn't retire younger. He's the only one who ever commented, and he did so on FaceBook, claiming not everyone's as fortunate as I, etc. I promptly, and publicly, reviewed all the choices he'd made including passing up college under the GI bill, ( he was complaining about not going to college), the decision for his wife not to work, his decisions to buy boats and motorcycles... And I thought it was rather demeaning for him to imply Id just been lucky.

He never brought up the topic again. That was just about the time his wife un friended me lol.

But, in general, if people ask, I just tell them I'm retired. It's not been a big deal.
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Old 04-19-2014, 09:43 PM   #64
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I love this thread! I retired in December 2013 at age 59. What an awesome experience it has been! When I tell people I am retired, the most common reply is that I look too young to retire! I usually laugh and joke that I wanted to wait until I was 30, but decided to take the plunge at 29. Most people smile and then the conversation moves on to other topics. I like to tell people who ask about my profession that I am a conoseur of leisure or a website designer or free lance writer or fitness guru. . .or. Whatever pops in my brain. I find a good sense of humor goes a long way. I'll get an occasional snarky comment and then I simply smile. No response necessary.
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:13 PM   #65
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:58 PM   #66
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Was at an event tonight with eight of us seated around a round table. BIL who is 4-5 years older and I suspect not in a position to retire is across the table from me. One of my childhood friend's mom is seated next to BIL also across from me and asks me if I'm retired. I replied yes - what choice did I have -and then she says that I am lucky to be able to be retired so young. I concede that she is right and then quip that "its not the age, its the mileage". Talk about awkward!
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:16 AM   #67
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When I retired I grew a beard which came in white.
+1. Since having it, I haven't had anyone ask me 'why aren't you at school?'
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:52 AM   #68
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My husband, for one. I was the breadwinner for several years, and I was a very good providor(sic), thenkewverymuch.

My wife has been a great provider! When we got married fifteen years ago she made a little more than me, but her career took off and her base salary grew to three times my pay, plus stock options that put the icing on the cake. I have no problem telling her (or others) how proud I am of her accomplishment. I retired last year and am now just waiting for her to join me...the sooner the better.
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Old 04-20-2014, 07:23 AM   #69
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You're too worried about what other people might think. By all means you shouldn't gloat, brag or try to make others feel bad - but you say you're proud of retiring early, there's nothing wrong with answering that you're retired when someone asks. If they're jealous, that's their issue. If they think you're wasting your life by not "contributing to society," that should be their issue. If they think you've been incredibly lucky, it helps the, rationalize their situation/choices, again their issue.

Like others have said, among friends, family and strangers, some will be happy for you and some won't - here's no way around that no matter what age you retire. But envy is the other persons problem, not yours unless you choose to.

I don't use euphemisms, but I don't talk about being retired except when asked and there's no polite way around answering. And I truthfully tell folks there are advantages and disadvantages to early retirement, and move off the topic as quickly as possible. No one can make you feel bad about retiring early, only you can do that (to yourself).

Very few people have asked me how I did it. If asked I tell them we had good careers, LBYM'd, saved and invested and watch our spending in retirement. But most people who ask are looking for a silver bullet (I don't know of one) - the folks who ask in earnest already know the answer...
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:07 AM   #70
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Now, some three years later, we love being retired, and use it frequently to describe what we are, when asked. We do, however, moderate our tone somewhat so as not to appear to be gloating.
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Can you describe this a bit more? In what way do you moderate your tone?
"We're retired" said calmly, with the subject then quickly changed, as in, "We're retired. Now, what were you saying again about your interest in ______?"

We've learned if we can quickly get the focus off of ourselves, we're 'good.' Most people are more interested in talking about themselves than hearing someone else talk, so it get's us off the ER hot seat pretty quickly. If, after doing so, the topic returns to our ER, it's generally from a place of sincerely wanting to understand how we accomplished it so they can perhaps leave with a take away not previously considered.

We're never apologetic - we made deliberate choices our entire married life to get where we are - but we don't discuss the details unless asked.

Edit: Just saw your question about wanting to remain relevant to your peers, which is an issue for me as well. The key I've found is similar to what I posted above. Just make any conversation all about them as quickly as possible and all will be good. I actually love to hear all about the most recent company c$ap. I can give advice without being at all invested (or interested!) in the outcome. A win-win all around.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:10 AM   #71
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..........But most people who ask are looking for a silver bullet (I don't know of one) - the folks who ask in earnest already know the answer...
I think that this is it in a nutshell.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:13 AM   #72
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We're never apologetic - we made deliberate choices our entire married life to get where we are ...
Ditto.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:33 AM   #73
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You're too worried about what other people might think. By all means you shouldn't gloat, brag or try to make others feel bad - but you say you're proud of retiring early, there's nothing wrong with answering that you're retired when someone asks. If they're jealous, that's their issue. If they think you're wasting your life by not "contributing to society," that should be their issue. If they think you've been incredibly lucky, it helps the, rationalize their situation/choices, again their issue.
Bingo. I completely agree. You folks that have FIRE'd should wear the badge proudly. Most of you set a goal, made a plan, achieved the stated objectives and walked away from the treadmill forever. You should be proud that you have accomplished what most Americans only dream of and you did it on you terms. You didn't steal it from anyone, you didn't lie or cheat your way to FIRE, you do not have one damn thing to feel guilty about. Most of those that are jealous are in their situations due to their poor choices (although some have been dealt a poor hand, but certainly not the majority). I agree you shouldn't rub their noses in it but you certainly shouldn't try to hide the fact that you successfully achieved what you set out to do.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:35 AM   #74
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I always answered directly that I am retired (7 years ago at 48). If pressed for details I explain that I made it a priority - no kids, new cars, smaller house, etc. If pressed for more I explain about stock investing and dividends. I have never had a negative reaction, except perhaps boredom.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:36 AM   #75
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Why?

As Jack said, "You can't handle the truth!"
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:27 PM   #76
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Almost every person I mention this to says "you are way too young to retire," as if it is a complete statement of fact, not opinion. So, I have started telling people "I'm taking a sabbatical...maybe a year, maybe longer." That comforts most, but I do think that my FIL still thinks I am insane. He is 82, still works full time making about $250K/year, has about $15M in the bank (and lives on probably $70K/year).

Two weeks in, I am enjoying my retirement. Oh, wait, I mean sabbatical. I am so incredibly fortunate, and was recently reminded of that when I talked to a good friend of mine. He is 55, and he worked for me for about 7 years. During that time, he made an incredible amount of money: one year, $950K, next $750K, but he never made less than $400K. Gotta love high tech software sales. He is in the midst of a divorce, which I know can be financially devastating, but he made a comment to me that I found unbelievable. He found an apartment that will cost about $2,800/month. He was hesitant to sign the paperwork because he wasn't sure a certain deal was going to come in and pay him a commission. During our discussion, I slowly began to realize that he simply didn't have the money for the first month's rent. He was paid millions during his tenure on my team, and apart from what I hope is at least a small 401k, he has nothing. I would be terrified to be in his shoes.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:35 PM   #77
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Whenever I get that comment "you are too young to retire!" I answer as sincerely as I can fake it, "wait, did they change the law about that? I know you can't vote until you're 18 and you can't drink until you're 21, what is the age you are allowed to retire again?" Fortunately, (or maybe not so fortunately) I think I will be hearing that "too young" comment less and less...
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:43 PM   #78
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Almost every person I mention this to says "you are way too young to retire," as if it is a complete statement of fact, not opinion. So, I have started telling people "I'm taking a sabbatical...maybe a year, maybe longer." That comforts most, but I do think that my FIL still thinks I am insane. He is 82, still works full time making about $250K/year, has about $15M in the bank (and lives on probably $70K/year).

Two weeks in, I am enjoying my retirement. Oh, wait, I mean sabbatical. I am so incredibly fortunate, and was recently reminded of that when I talked to a good friend of mine. He is 55, and he worked for me for about 7 years. During that time, he made an incredible amount of money: one year, $950K, next $750K, but he never made less than $400K. Gotta love high tech software sales. He is in the midst of a divorce, which I know can be financially devastating, but he made a comment to me that I found unbelievable. He found an apartment that will cost about $2,800/month. He was hesitant to sign the paperwork because he wasn't sure a certain deal was going to come in and pay him a commission. During our discussion, I slowly began to realize that he simply didn't have the money for the first month's rent. He was paid millions during his tenure on my team, and apart from what I hope is at least a small 401k, he has nothing. I would be terrified to be in his shoes.
I can relate. I was in hi-tech also and know several people who made a lot of money and either continue to work for whatever reason or have to continue to work because they spend money with the assumption that the good times will last forever. Maybe the will--but industries a cyclical and the good times are not guaranteed to continue forever. Ask folks in bio-tech, manufacturing, etc.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:51 PM   #79
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Bingo. I completely agree. You folks that have FIRE'd should wear the badge proudly. Most of you set a goal, made a plan, achieved the stated objectives and walked away from the treadmill forever. You should be proud that you have accomplished what most Americans only dream of and you did it on you terms. You didn't steal it from anyone, you didn't lie or cheat your way to FIRE, you do not have one damn thing to feel guilty about. Most of those that are jealous are in their situations due to their poor choices (although some have been dealt a poor hand, but certainly not the majority). I agree you shouldn't rub their noses in it but you certainly shouldn't try to hide the fact that you successfully achieved what you set out to do.
My thoughts exactly.
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:35 PM   #80
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... Most of you set a goal, made a plan, achieved the stated objectives and walked away from the treadmill forever. You should be proud that you have accomplished what most Americans only dream of and you did it on you terms. You didn't steal it from anyone, you didn't lie or cheat your way to FIRE, you do not have one damn thing to feel guilty about....
Ah, you may be taking too much for granted here.
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